Lightbulb moment at the canter today - The Horse Forum
  • 5 Post By MyBoyPuck
  • 1 Post By tinyliny
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 5 Old 07-25-2014, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 8,157
• Horses: 0
Lightbulb moment at the canter today

So my last 3 dressage tests have had the same comment, "horse on forehand" during the canter circles. I am very body position challenged at the canter and usually look something like an 8 year old attempting to ride a mechanical bull with legs, arms and torso going in all different directions. My horse does not find canter to be an easy gait due to his conformation, and I think I had gotten lazy and decided between the two of us, it was just going to stay a 6 or 7.

You all know how much time I spend on these forums. Multiply that by 3 other forums and a lot of down time at work and I've picked up a few tidbits. I remember Kayty saying something about keeping your elbows glued to your sides at the canter and following with your hips or something to that affect. On another forum, I had mentioned my forehand canter while suggesting to another poster that it helps to really push your horse's balance limits at all gaits to increase your scores. Someone else mentioned that my horse might very well have good balance at the canter but something else might be missing instead. It was then that my brain went DUH and I realized I was pushing his limits without supporting him at the same time.

Today I warmed up riding squares at the walk and trot all geared toward inside leg/outside rein. Once he was not protesting at the 90 degree turns, we softened the squares to an octagon and finally a circle. I still kept asking for more more more, but being careful to frequently half halt and keep him balanced on that outside rein. We then tried the elusive canter. I sat tall, opened my shoulders and really thought about Kayty's advice about the elbows being part of the torso. When my horse took a stride that felt like he was losing his balance, I did a hard half halt or added a point of the octagon to keep him on that outside rein. For the first time in a long time, his canter felt GOOD. I could feel my hips moving, he felt light on his feet, he seemed to relax despite being asked for so much more. I wish I had it on video to see if it looked as how it felt, but it was an interesting ride. These forums can be great things for solving puzzles.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
MyBoyPuck is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 Old 07-27-2014, 05:58 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,175
• Horses: 3
Woohoo!! Congrats mate, that first stride that you actually feel in control and uphill is one that will stick with you forever. I vividly remember struggling for years at canter, always being 'so-so' then struggling and out of control when required to canter a diagonal, loop or towards a medium.
Then like you, it clicked. I was asking more without actually helping my horse. I planted my backside in the saddle, kept my core engaged, sat back and glued my elbows to my hips. Then I asked for a walk- canter. And my lord... That canter immediately became uphill, in control, with my seat and oh so easy to sit on. At that moment I worked out how to ride a collected canter and a pirouette. No spinning the horse around hoping for the best, I could actually sit a horse on it's backside and lift the forehand. Pirouettes are EASY once you discover how to lift the wither!!!
Posted via Mobile Device
Kayty is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 07-28-2014, 12:46 AM
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Washington
Posts: 1,117
• Horses: 1
Gotta love them lightbullb moments! I am actually working on the exact same thing right now- diamond points at the canter to stay on the balance beam (as my trainer puts it) and in the outside rein. I am also in the process of saddle searching, as mine currently sits like a party hat on my horse. It is incredible how much quicker he is to lighten the forehand in a saddle that is closer to his correct fit- it truly makes a world of difference.

My body issues of collapsing my right side really turn up in our right lead canter, but my recent lightbulb moment was when my instructor kept urging me to the right side of my saddle- when I was finally in the center of my horse's back to me I felt like a trick rider hanging off the side of him lol! But as soon as I was in position his stride changed dramatically, more relaxed over the back and really getting that jump coming through from behind, it was a great ah-ha moment!

Keep it up!!

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Ninamebo is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 07-28-2014, 01:31 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 41,070
• Horses: 2
how very interesting. I'll see if I can in even a small way incorporate that, you guys. neat stuff!
DreaMy likes this.
tinyliny is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 07-29-2014, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 8,157
• Horses: 0
Kayty, I must say it was that once thing you said about the elbows to the hips that really brought it together. I have had many different instructors over the years. Not one ever mentioned that very important thing. Worse yet, almost all have yelled at me to follow my horse's head motion with my hands resulting exactly the opposite of what provides the overall core connection. For decades I have been letting my elbows wander forward every stride...headdesk. I have been not feeling so great this week, so I haven't had time to recreate my momentary success, but I'm going to try soon. Thanks again for mentioning that very crucial part of a puzzle I thought I would never put together!

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
MyBoyPuck is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Has your horse had that lightbulb moment? Klassic Superstar Horse Talk 3 01-27-2014 04:58 PM
A Lightbulb Moment tlkng1 Dressage 2 12-05-2013 08:57 AM
Lightbulb Moment Today azarni Horse Pictures 5 08-29-2013 08:40 PM
Are you supposed to FORCE heels down? My lightbulb moment! dreamrideredc English Riding 14 02-02-2011 06:43 PM
Lightbulb moment :) IheartPheobe Jumping 2 11-21-2009 10:26 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome